Menopause & Pimples
Treatments that worked to clear up your teenage acne problems may not work on pimples that appear during menopause. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin becomes more sensitive with age and over-the-counter treatments can irritate aging skin. Understand how menopause and acne are related to determine your best treatment plan.
Acne is caused by an overproduction of oil, also called sebum. Pores become clogged with the excess oil, bacteria and dead skin cells and erupt into blemishes. Hormones affect the body's natural sebum production, which is why menopausal women often experience outbreaks, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Stress also can stimulate sebum production. Menopause and the changes that often accompany the physical and emotional upheavals can be a stressful time, creating an excess of body oil that causes pimples. Women usually stop taking oral contraceptives during menopause as well, which can affect oil production and cause acne outbreaks.
Skin functions that served to keep skin clear also begin to fail with age. Skin cells die and slough off regularly, cell-regeneration slows down as we age, leaving an excess of dead skin cells on the face to clog oil-filled pores. According to Skin Care News, waste elimination also slows down during menopause, leaving more skin cells to linger in the body than before. Sun exposure and reduced collagen production also dries the skin quicker in older women, creating an excess of dead skin to gather in the pores.
Various types of acne can occur during menopause. The most devastating may be cysts, which are deep pimples that are filled with pus and often lead to scarring. Nodules are deep acne lesions that also can lead to scarring if they are not treated properly. Blackheads and whiteheads are the most common form of acne and usually clear up without intervention. Postules and pimples result when blackheads and whiteheads become infected and inflamed.
Many women believe that they get pimples because of poor hygiene. According to Women's Health.gov however, the opposite typically is true. Excessive washing and scrubbing with harsh chemicals or soaps irritate the skin and actually worsen acne flare-ups. The oil production that leads to pimples comes from underneath the skin and cannot be removed by cleansing. Gentle cleaning with mild cleansers twice a day is the most effective way to keep pimples from forming.
In addition to gentle twice-daily cleaning, avoid touching your face as much as possible to prevent outbreaks. Keep your hair clean and off your face to prevent spreading additional oil. Allow blackheads and whiteheads to run their course without squeezing or popping them. Use cosmetics and sunscreen products that are water-based and labeled non-comedogenic.
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